Quality > well, everything else actually

Serious post time. From the soul.

Or sole? Whichever suits. Get it? Reference to apparel and footwear, like, fashion related articles....am I trying to hard? I don't care.

It's 2011 and it's apparent that things have changed. Look around you. People want something not just different, but something more. Even as we edged towards the end of 2010 already there was a shift in consumer demand and trend.

If I were a mathematician this is how I'd attempt to present my case to you the learned people -

Heritage > Hype
Quality > Limited Quantity
Hand Crafted > Factory Line

Some of this is hypocritical coming from me considering my employer and my brand loyalty. The fact is, and this is NOT lost on me by any means, the majority of brands use the same factories, the same materials, the same fabric content, and it's the same machinery and human hands assembling what you see on the shelves and rails. That's business, that's fact.

"Hello? You'd like to complain about the state of your (enter literally any item here) because it has come out of the wash a certain way, or has worn out after 12 months solid wear? Listen, it's cotton. It's what happens to the material. It has a shelf life, as does EVERYTHING. A cotton Oxford shirt is always a cotton Oxford shirt no matter the logo or price tag. Check the fabric content."

And I'm also guilty of frivolous spending on sub-standard products - want an example? The Stussy Limited Edition Chronometer watch, only four sold in Europe. I had one. Whoopee. It was garbage.
That fortunately was my last big spend on something lacking any real quality. I replaced it with a Hamilton Khaki King Scuba Automatic, bottom end of the 'luxury' watch world but oh what difference. The brand's heritage spoke to me first, then the quality of the movement and of course the classic styling. It's beautiful.

If I don't list the following I'll be upset with myself. Add these to my list of pure quality - Dr Martens 'Manton' boot. Abington Gortex Hiker boot. And something that I'm going to do justice with by giving it the post and time it deserves on it's own very soon, the brand that is STRINGS by Camilla Lehn. If you don't know, you will. Oh trust me you will.

Ahhhh ok now I feel vindicated.

The trick is how you capture some one's interest and keep them coming back. For me it's all in the details. More so than the service, the price point, even whether or not the brand is thought of as being desirable.

Brands will still be able to maintain their fan base, and that's good. However the move has been more towards mixing styles and brands, aesthetics over a perceived lifestyle or cult(ish) following.

Prime example - A Bathing Ape 5 years ago > A Bathing Ape now. Too soon? Please accept my sincere apologies Tomoaki Nagao.

I too was once a mammal prone to lining up for hours on the cold and wet side street of London for a Swarovski garnished full zipped hooded sweat. My heavily pregnant wife even copped a 3rd gen Shark after lining up for about 3 hours *coughRE-SELLcough*. It was fun. It was being a part of something that originated somewhere far away, an idea that was executed so well that it sparked off a culture (to which if my understanding is correct still remains in Japan).

We were of the few who had been chosen to bask in the glory of extremely high priced and let's be honest ill fitting street wear that had been given the seal of approval by the likes of Biggie Smalls, Mike D, Ian Brown, James Lavelle and shit even Robin Williams was snapped sporting Bape!
Then here's where it started to get messed up, can you say bandwagon? I'm talking to you Jermaine Dupri, Souljah Boi, Lil' Wayne et al. Even drafting in Pharrell, Kanye, Kid Cudi and other 'popular' artists couldn't fix things.

From a reported £300 Million net worth to being bought for just £3 Million in such a short space of time. How? I don't for a second believe it was bad business decisions. On the contrary, the decision to open stores in the USA (R.I.P. Bape LA) and even online was genius, albeit quite possibly also an attempt to cash in before the ship went under.
For me the fairy tale had ended. The bubble burst. Everyone now had access, everyone had money and who in their right mind was gonna say no to a pocket full of dough in order to keep the exclusive dream alive? No one, not even Nigo.

I kind of swerved heavily on this post, I never intended to preach on Bape but it's fresh in the memory and fits what I'm trying to say.

There are a growing number of brands and products out there that are worth every hard earned penny you are being asked to spend on them. Search and you shall find. I don't want to spoil that sense of achievement for you when you stumble across exactly the e-tailer(s) you were looking for. But I will leave you with this advanced warning, and it is a warning because this is going to knock your Happy Socks off.

2011, the year of the rabbit? Not for me. I choose instead the cow. No not Cravendale. Pay attention will you, and for f ck sake turn the TV off once in a while and read a book or something. Box eyed zombie.

Run by good people with an admirable game plan, sign up now and wait patiently with baited breath, I am.










The Buttery Store

Big big shout out to the following people on their grind providing what you not only want, but ultimately need.

The Daily Street
Crooked Tongues
End Clothing
Hypebeast
Highsnobiety
The Great Frog

And please for your own good (and because I'm rad and say so) follow the talent on this list of blogs -

http://labellabling.com/
http://www.arudima.com/wordpress
http://eastfashioncollective.blogspot.com/
http://americanlovemachine.com/blog
http://www.solifestyle.com/




Until the next ship sinks.......

Bossman

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